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Shayna Komar

10 tips for a healthier gut

“Gut health is so important because more than half of your immune system is in your GI tract,” says Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. Experts are now realizing that digestive, or gut, health is linked to many diseases, so keeping your digestive system on track is one way to prevent serious illness down the road.

To improve your gut health, follow these tips.

1. Exercise. Physical activity gets your colon moving, which leads to more regular bowel movements. Exercise can also help manage irritable bowel symptoms.

2. Eat a healthy diet. Consume mostly fresh, unprocessed and clean foods. Processed foods are broken down more easily into sugar, which can negatively impact your digestive health.

3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overwhelming the GI tract.

4. Chew your food thoroughly – it can ease the digestive process.

5. Manage your stress levels. Too much stress can impact your gut health. Yoga, meditation, therapy or even journaling have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

6. Take or eat probiotics. Probiotics increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Yogurt, kefir, fresh sauerkraut and supplements are all good sources of probiotics.

7. Eat more fiber. Aim for 25 grams each day.

8. Drink plenty of water. Eight 8-ounce glasses a day is a good place to start.

9. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Both are digestive stimulants and can disrupt the digestive process.

10. Talk to your doctor. If you experience frequent diarrhea or constipation, you should consult with your physician. You may have irritable bowel syndrome, which affects 10 to 15 percent of the population. “The bottom line is trust your gut instincts,” says Komar. “What’s happening in your gut is directly affecting your health.”

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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